Charles Leclerc has taken pole position at all of the last four races and failed to win any of them. Should he do so again at the Canadian Grand Prix, he’ll equal the record for the most consecutive races at which a driver has failed to convert pole position into victory.
Charles Leclerc is in a league of his own in qualifying so far this year. At all of the first eight races of the year, he has lined up on the front row of the grid. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix marked only the 25th time in F1 history that a driver has started from the front row at eight successive races. Another top two qualifying result on Saturday in Montreal will see him become only the 15th driver to start from the front row at nine races in a row.
Leclerc has taken pole at six races so far this year. However, he has converted only two of those into victory. He won from pole at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and achieved the first Grand Slam of his career at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Monegasque driver has taken pole at all of the last four races but has not converted any of those poles into wins. He finished as runner-up to Max Verstappen in Miami, retired while leading the race in Spain, lost out on strategy at his home race in Monaco and retired from the lead once more at last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
This is only the third time in Formula 1 history that a driver has taken pole at four consecutive races and not gone on to win any of the events. If he takes pole without winning in Canada, he’ll equal Niki Lauda and Juan Pablo Montoya as the drivers to have taken the most consecutive poles without converting any into a win.
Niki Lauda was the first to take five poles in a row without converting any into victory. He did so between the 1974 French and Italian Grands Prix. After winning the Dutch Grand Prix, Lauda went on to take pole at the next five races, but did not repeat his success. He finished as runner-up to Ronnie Peterson at the French Grand Prix and finished fifth at the next race at Brands Hatch. Lauda then failed to finish the next three races: he crashed out on Lap 1 at the Nurburgring, retired with engine issues at his home event and had similar issues at the next race in Monza.
Since Lauda, only one other driver has taken five poles in a row without winning. That was 20 years ago, when Juan Pablo Montoya was fastest in qualifying at every race between the 2002 Monaco and French Grands Prix but failed to win any of the five races. In Monaco, David Coulthard won the race to Turn 1 and went on to lead every lap while Montoya retired just after half distance. The Colombian retired again having taken pole at the Canadian Grand Prix before a race-ending collision with Coulthard at the Nurburgring. Montoya finished on the final step of the podium after his fourth pole in a row at Silverstone then rounded out his five race streak of failing to win from pole at the French Grand Prix.
Leclerc has a relatively low pole to win conversion rate in his Formula 1 career. He has taken 15 pole positions but has converted only four to victory. He is yet to win a race having not started from pole. Will Ferrari have the pace to take pole this weekend – and will Leclerc have more luck on his side in Montreal?
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.